Dutch museums have found 139 artworks that may have been looted during the Nazi era, they announced today. Among the works: One of the country's top tourist draws, Henri Matisse's 1921 "Odalisque" painting of a half-nude reclining woman at Amsterdam's Stedelijk museum, along with 68 more paintings by the likes of Klee and Kandinsky. "These objects are either thought or known to have been looted, confiscated, or sold under duress," says the director of the Netherlands Museums Association, who called their return "both a moral obligation and one that we have taken upon ourselves."
To that end, the review also listed the names of 20 people whom the museums said definitely had 61 pieces of art taken from them. The museums said they were getting in contact with or seeking their heirs, including the heirs of Jewish art dealer Albert Stern, the deceased owner of the Matisse. The museum purchased the painting from the Lieuwe Bangma family in 1941, but Stern was its owner before the war and the Bangma family is known to have given shelter to his granddaughter during the war. American and British museums have already conducted investigations similar to the Dutch one. In Germany and many other countries, similar investigations are still under way.